Training Up a Child

Alan Creech has a post on his blog in which he talks about parent’s’ responsibility to raise and train his or her children in the faith.  I couldn’t agree with him more.  He writes, and I quote:

I’m thinking of how I have taught them over the years, what I’ve taught them, and it actually is my primary responsibility to teach them and raise them in the Faith. It’s no one else’s responsibility. It’s mine. It’s Liz’s. If you’re a parent, it’s YOUR responsibility.

You see where I’m going with this. And of course I’ll say that there is a sense in which it takes a… community. It does take the Church, of which we are a part, to fully complete the formation of any person. I’m not just talking about the institutional/official classes and staff members. They may play their part but only as organically real members of Christ’s Body, working in Him and by His Grace and the power of the Holy Spirit to help in the formation of our children into the Image of Christ. If we’re talking front-lines here, though, we’re talking about ME as a parent. If you’re a Catholic, you should know that the Church teaches you exactly what I’m saying. It’s not the Parish council’s job, not the Priest’s job, not the good Sisters at the school, not their job, or the Youth Minister’s job, primarily, to transfer the deposit of Faith into your children. That’s supposed to happen in what is called “the domestic church” – your family. Again, all those things and people will and can play their parts but they cannot, and should not, take the place of YOU, the parent.
My point is that if you abdicate this responsibility to “the Church,” you are doing just that, abdicating a real responsibility that has been given to YOU as a member of “the Church.”

I realize that some parents believe they are busier nowadays than parents in the past.  Many two-parent families have both the dad and mom working full-time jobs.  Further, when they get home, they find themselves carting their children around to their various activities.  And when we consider the plight of single parents, the argument that there is little time for faith formation in the home would seem to be airtight.

But the fact of the matter is, that in the days gone by, life was much more difficult than it is now.  We have so many time-saving appliances (microwaves, washers, dryers, cars, etc. . . ), and not many people I know today make their own clothes or grow their own food.  What we have is not a lack of time, but an unwillingness to make “training up a child” a priority.  It is too easy to get caught up in the busyness of life and let this most important task slide. But parents let it slide to their children’s detriment.  After all, they may receive all kinds of good stuff from worship in church, from youth groups and even Sunday School (though I doubt it), but unless a child sees that faith is important to her or his parent(s), then all the encouragement they may receive from other people and organizations will be diluted, perhaps to the point of being all but worthless.

Anyway, that’s my take on this issue.  What’s yours?  If you have the time, and why wouldn’t you, go on over to Alan’s blog and read more of what he has to say here:  train up a child, which was originally posted on Thursday, 26 July 2007.

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